How to Renew an Employment Authorization Document

Foreign nationals who are temporarily residing in the U.S. and are eligible to work may file an application for a work permit and receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document). Permanent residents or Green Card holders don't require an EAD to work.

One of the benefits of having a Green Card is the ability to work without a permit. Generally, EADs are valid between 1-2 years—the expiration date of your work permit is printed on the front of your card. If you have an EAD, you should monitor its expiration date and renew it before it expires. If you let your EAD expire your work authorization could be revoked. You can submit your application for renewal starting at 120 days before your EAD’s expiration date.

Submitting an Application for Renewal

To renew an EAD you are required to complete and submit form I-765. The EAD processing time is approximately 90 days from the date of the application. Filling out Form I-765 should be done carefully to avoid accidentally entering wrong information, which could cause the application to be denied.

Make sure your application includes the required EAD Renewal documentation, which will help prove not only your identity but also your eligibility for this particular immigration benefit. You could also be required to submit copies of the documents you used when applying for your previous EAD, depending on your immigration status.

How to File EAD Renewal Documents

The address to submit Form I-765 and supporting documentation depends on your eligibility category. Pay close attention to the instructions prior to completing the form because if you submit an incomplete application package it will be returned by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The easiest way to complete this form is online rather than printing it and completing it by hand. Completing Form I-765 online allows you to correct any mistakes without having to start over.

Remember that you are required to answer every question on the form even if it doesn’t apply to you. In such cases please write "none" or N/A.

Some of the supporting documentation required by the U.S. Immigration Department when renewing your work permit include photocopies of previously issued permits as well as form I-797. You may also be required to submit the approval notice you received from USCIS along with your previous permit. If you have applied for adjustment of status, you will also be required to submit a copy of the receipt notice of your application. In addition you will also need to submit two passport-sized photos taken within 30 days of filing your application.

Remember to lightly indicate your name and alien number on the back of the photos. Also remember to include a copy of the front and back of your Form I-94 - Arrival/Departure Record.

Each application must be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee of $410. Depending on your eligibility category you may also be required to pay a biometrics fee of $85. Cash payment is not acceptable; you must send the money in form of a check or money order. The check/money order should be made out to the Department of Homeland Security. Checks must be signed and dated within six months from the date you submit your application.

Some individuals could be exempt from paying fees when renewing their EAD. Those exempt are:

  • Citizens of Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia
  • People who have had their removal proceedings suspended
  • Those dependent on particular foreign governments
  • NATO personnel or international organizations
  • People with deferred Enforced Departure status

How to Submit the Form and Supporting Documents

To correctly submit your EAD application package you are required to include the completed form, the supporting documentation and correct filing fee to the appropriate USCIS office. It is advisable to make a copy of every document to keep for your own records. To receive email notifications and/or text messages regarding your application status, you will need to fill out Form G-1145 and attach it to the front of your application.

While EAD renewal processing time is usually completed within 90 days, it may take longer depending on the applicant's personal situation. If you take longer than anticipated to receive your renewed EAD, you should consider requesting an interim card. In such cases, you'll be required to provide the application receipt notice you received from US immigration. You can get an interim card by simply making an appointment with your local USCIS offices and presenting the relevant documentation.

Are There Exceptions?

Following the new regulations that came into effect on January 17, 2017, you could be allowed to continue working for a maximum of 180 days pending the approval of your renewal application under the following circumstances:

  • If you applied to renew your current EAD before its expiration
  • If your application falls under the same category as the previous one

To qualify, you must belong to the any of the following eligibility categories:

  • A refugee or you are an applicant whose asylum application is pending, or if you are a citizen of Micronesia or the Marshall Islands.
  • Having been granted or applied for withholding of deportation or removal or you are a TPS applicant
  • An applicant with a pending green card renewal or a pending Form I-485 - Adjustment of Status application
  • A VAWA principal beneficiary or if you are a child of a VAWA beneficiary
  • Having applied for suspension of deportation.

Even if you are able to benefit from this automatic extension you will still need to prove your work authorization to your employer. To be able to continue to work in the USA during the EAD renewal processing time, and prove your status here are some useful ideas.

Tracking your EAD

Once you submit your EAD application and it is checked for completeness, you will receive your renewed work permit via the U.S Postal Service. You can track the shipment of your card and follow its delivery via the USPS website.

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